Norwegian Encore Cruise Ship Review
An incredible mix of advanced technology and luxury amenities, this state-of-the-art ship features colorful hull art and a focus on high-end cuisine. There are familiar features, like The Haven by Norwegian, and some never before seen features which could set the standard for new ships moving forward.
Read Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine’s review of Norwegian Encore below!
Porthole Cruise and Travel Ship Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Variety is a great word to describe the dining options on board Norwegian Encore. The ship features restaurants with cuisine from all over the world in beautiful dining rooms and with incredible views.
The newest restaurant on board is Onda by Sarpetta, a traditional Italian eatery with a focus on modern cuisine. Scarpetta is a well-known restaurant with locations in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, London, and more. Seafood is obviously prominent on the menu, both raw and prepared, but don’t pass on traditional favorites like Spaghetti Tomato & Basil and a glass of wine from the extensive list. We’d recommend the fresh Tuna Susci to start, followed by some of Onda’s homemade pasta. The waiting list is long, so book your evening at Onda as soon as you step on board the ship, or sooner if possible!
Anyone that’s cruised with Norwegian will know of Cagney’s, the line’s classic American steakhouse. Choice cuts of aged beef marbled to perfection is what you’ll find when you dine at Cagney’s. From ribeyes and New York strips to T-bones and filet mignon, quality and experience are a primary focus at this steakhouse.
Like most modern cruise ships, Norwegian Encore features a traditional Japanese Hibachi grill known as Teppanyaki. It’s half performance, half fantastic meal, so bring the whole family to enjoy it. Along with Teppanyaki, the ship also features Food Republic, an Asian fusion restaurant serving up bites from Korea, China, Japan, and more.
Other speciality restaurants include Los Lobos, a Mexican restaurant perfect for fresh guacamole and a margarita; Le Bistro, a romantic French restaurant; Ocean Blue, a fresh seafood restaurant; and American Diner.
NORWEGIAN ENCORE BARS
There’s a ton of great places on board Encore to have a drink, but our favorite bar was the A-List, named by departing President Andy Stuart. The cocktails are made with fresh ingredients like fruit juices and garnish which makes for a fantastic drink.
There’s also the ultra-exclusive Haven bar where guests can sip on cocktails specially curated to their tastes, known as “bespoke cocktails”. The Haven Bar has exclusive ingredients and bitters not found anywhere else on the ship made by mixologists, not bartenders. However, you have to stay in a Haven suite to get access!
When it’s cocktail hour, sip on Hampton Water, a rose wine found on board the ship that scored top marks from Wine Spectator. You might have heard of the wine’s famous founders, Jessie Bongiovi and his rockstar dad Jon Bon Jovi!
Every cruise line is focused on sustainability but Norwegian takes things to a new level with drinks like the Pineapple Surplus, a specialty cocktail made from using parts of the pineapple that are usually discarded. Leftover fruit pieces from the dining rooms aren’t wasted, instead they’re used to make something delicious and new! The Croissant Champagne Syrup Mojito is another drink cruisers have to try when cruising on the Encore that’s made from reusable goods.
Norwegian Cruise Line made history with their last ship, putting the first go-kart track at sea on the top deck. Norwegian Encore is continuing the need for speed with a track that measures 1,100 feet and more room to cut the corner and win the race! Rooting for someone special? Spectators are encouraged to watch and cheer their favorite racer on to the finish.
Speedy go-karts aren’t the only new technology on board Norwegian Encore. The ship also features a hybrid virtual reality laser tag course set in the lost city of Atlantis. Battle sea monsters and uncover hidden treasures as you make your way through the arena. It’s a new technology sure to be found on plenty of new ships going forward. The Galaxy Pavilion is another virtual reality simulation where guests take on escape rooms and puzzles—all in a virtual world.
The Main Pool and Aqua Park is sure to be a hit with the whole family. It features two multi-story water slides, a splash academy zone for kids and, of course, plenty of loungers in which to enjoy the day. Along with the Splash Academy, there are places designed for little kids and teens as well. Guppies is a play program for parents and babies, and Entourage is the teen center with movies, music, video games, dance parties, and more.
The spa services and fitness center are much like you’ll find on other Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The spa features all the services you’d likely find at a spa back home along with a salt room and snow room. The Fitness Center includes RYDE cycling classes, Pure Form Pilates, yoga, meditation, and plenty of state of the art exercise equipment.
The Mandara Spa on board Norwegian Encore is nothing short of spectacular. The lounge chairs overlooking a stunning ocean view were designed by a chiropractor, so you know you will rest comfortably. You can relax, unwind and enjoy one of over 50 specialty treatments offered at the spa – but the best upgrade (in our opinion) is a Thermal spa pass where you can relax and rejuvenate with heat and water therapy. Nothing feels better after a day in port!
Every design, color scheme and art fixture was chosen by NCL CEO Frank Del Rio. We loved the Atrium with its glass staircase and incredible light fixture. The Atrium is right in the middle of the ship and walking through it leads to the shops on board where you can find a number of luxury jewelry, clothing and more. Our favorite was the first ever John Hardy store at sea where guests can learn the 8-step process for making the famous Bali bracelets.
Norwegian Encore features a wide variety of stateroom options from clean and comfortable interior staterooms to the ultra-deluxe accommodations and perks of The Haven. Guests staying in The Haven are in for a real treat. Located away from other guests at the top of the ship, The Haven includes 24-hour butler service, a private sundeck, and only the best furniture, linens and bath products. Each Haven suite features a private balcony and access to The Haven Restaurant and The Haven Lounge, strictly off limits to passengers not staying in The Haven suites.
Spa, Spa Mini-Suite, and Spa Balcony staterooms are more luxury options on board Norwegian Encore that offer quick and easy access to the spa and fitness centers. These aren’t your average staterooms, and the amenities and accommodations found in each are top of the line.
Balcony, Oceanview, and Interior Staterooms are designed with comfort in mind. There are multiple tiers of each stateroom type depending on your needs. Some balcony staterooms open up to the one next door so the whole family can feel like they’re staying together.
Make sure you really explore your room when you first get settled because there’s hidden features like storage under the couch and a USB charger built right into the bedside lamp!
One feature found on board Norwegian Encore is something solo cruisers will love. Studio rooms can be found in a private area of the ship made just for solo passengers. There’s even a lounge exclusive to studio cruisers. It has refreshments and comfortable furniture and makes for a great place to mingle with your fellow solo travelers. NCL was one of the first cruise lines to implement a solo cruiser lounge.
Entertainment is a large part of any cruise vacation and Norwegian Encore takes some of the best of Broadway and brings it to the high seas. Shows like Kinky Boots, The Choir of Man and Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical (16+ in age only) are sure to delight guests with their choreography, singing, and flair! The theater is HUGE! You will need to reserve your seats in advance because they fill up quickly, but don’t worry, every seat in the house offers a great view of the stage.
The ship also features live comedy shows, dance parties and live music in the various bars and lounges. The Waterfront is a great place to find fun in the evenings thanks to a number of watering holes like Sugarcane Mojito Bar, The Cellars wine bar, or Vibe Beach Club, where cruisers can enjoy frozen libations.